If you’re not that guy that can remember the scores of every World Series game with all the stats for every player on each roster, chances are you’re not in the limelight. But don’t fret over that. Science has proven that you’re smarter than that guy.
“We always idolise the person who can smash a trivia game, but the point of memory is not being able to remember who won the Stanly Cup in 1972,” explains Blake Richards, an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto and the author of a new study that focuses on the importance of forgetting information. “The point of memory is to make you an intelligent person who can make decisions given circumstances, and an important aspect in helping you do that is being able to forget some information.”
The idea is simple enough. Your brain is constantly gathering information with the purpose of being able to make informed decisions. But if you remember absolutely everything, you’ll actually slow down your “computing power” as distracting and even conflicting memories cloud the process. Emptying out the clutter frees up your brain to make better decisions more effectively. Richards continues, explaining, “It’s important that the brain forgets irrelevant details and instead focuses on the stuff that’s going to help make decisions in the real world.”
So, yea, you might not remember all those trivial details, but that’s because you’re just too smart. Take that, Mister Trivia Master.